The Last Stop in Yuma County (2023) 

Following a bank robbery, a misfit bunch of strangers find themselves stuck at a dinner when the local gas station has run out of gas. 

Written and directed by Francis Galluppi, this thriller is tight and just what film fans will love. The film is built mostly around one location, the gas station/diner, and has a bunch of characters that are brought in one by one (or couple by couple in some cases) to give them some time to be introduced and, for some of them, become part of the stressors in the situation. The film escalates in a beautiful way, showing that care and attention were put into both the script and direction. Another carefully crafted aspect of the film is the dialog, which sounds natural and only goes into cringe territory when it needs to be depending on the character or the story point where the film is at.  

The cast here has a whole bundle of talented people, each seemingly there to steal a scene or two. Leads Jim Cummings and Jocelin Donahue are solid in their respective parts, giving the viewer good anchors to go back to throughout the film’s development. Coming in as a bad guy from the get-go, Richard Brake is his usual solid self, a performer a film can always count on to deliver a great performance and one that attracts the attention no matter the side of things he finds himself on. Stealing a few scenes is the always lovely and shining Barbara Crampton. Her part gets minimal screen time, but she is so memorable in it, it’s hard to not think of this film as “hers”. The rest of the supporting cast is fantastic here, rounding out the characters well and giving them what they need to shine.  

The cinematography by Mac Fisken is lovely here, framing just right on every scene, showing how a film should be shot, especially with limited locations, and how to push into some scenes to really emphasize them. Another solid point here is the lighting. Goodness this is some good lighting, allowing the viewer to see everything they need to see, not blinding anyone for effect, having the right light for dealing with sunshine and indoors, showing the art of lighting a scene perfectly so many times over. Yes, the lighting is actually a solid reason to watch this movie. Working with the scenes created here, writer-director Galluppi also serves as the editor for the film, bring everything together just right, giving the film the perfect pace, and giving viewers just enough time with scenes to digest them.  

The art side of things here is also superb with great production design by Charlie Textor, art direction by Adam Gascho, set decoration by Karli Watland, and costume design by Emma Fleming. This theme comes together in the best of ways, creating a world for the film’s characters and their story to become something more into. The work here is careful, calculated, and done with attention to details that must be noted. 

The Last Stop in Yuma County is one of those independent films that film fans will love with a tight story, great performances, fantastic attention to detail from all department, while remaining entertaining and simple enough in itself to be more than itself. This thriller is one that flies by and makes the viewer want more.